Chris Paul

Homecoming King: Chris Paul feels the HBCU love

Chris Paul showed up at Winston-Salem State to help motivate people to vote. What he got was a homecoming fit for a king.

WSSU Cheer

Red Sea of Sound strikes chord with CP3

After a performance from WSSU’s Powerhouse Cheerleaders, Chris Paul led the sizable crowd down the Hill towards the Anderson Center, where early voting has been going on for a few weeks. By the time Paul passed by the C.E. Gaines Center, he was no longer at the front of the march. He was engulfed in a sea of masked supporters walking alongside him snapping pics and chatting him up.

And he loved every minute of it.

“I hardly get a chance to come home now, and to be back here in Winston, with all this…” Paul said making his way across Martin Luther King Dr. “It’s real.”

Along the way, Paul spotted his grandmother getting out of the car. He made his way over to the car, greeted her, and tied her shoe before rejoining the crowd, marching with the Red Sea of Sound. The band put on a 20-plus minute concert as the march reached its destination. Paul took it all in, and FaceTimed his family to let them take it all in.

“This right here will get you ready to play,” Paul said. I looked back and floated a question I already knew the answer to at him.

“They ain’t have nothing like this for you at Wake Forest, did they?”

He shook his head and chuckled, taking it all in.

It was a full-circle moment for the basketball superstar. After the band finished its performance, he told the crowd about growing up and watching the band during football games at Bowman Gray Stadium, just a few hundred feet away.

WSSU Red Sea of Sound

“We’d be playing football on the side,” Paul said. “Then, when it was halftime we wanted to see the band. For me, I’m 35 years old and I was like a little kid over there, excited to see the band and be a part of it.”

Paul pushes power of voting

While he enjoyed playing the role of homecoming king, Paul made sure he kept the focus on the bigger picture.

“When I was 18, and I was a college student right here in Winston at Wake Forest…wasn’t nobody talking to me about voting,” he said. “They weren’t encouraging us to go out and vote. They wasn’t teaching us. So just understand the power that you guys have.”

Beyond that, Paul encouraged the students to continue to foster a sense of community.

“This sense of community, don’t let this stop it. Whether I’m here or I’m not here,” Paul told the crowd. “You guys understand how powerful you are, and I appreciate you. Go Rams.”

It’s a community that Chris Paul was not only born into. It’s one he’s chosen to be a part of. So yes, he played basketball at Wake Forest. But his degree will say Winston-Salem State University.


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Homecoming King: Chris Paul feels the HBCU love
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